240 jobs at risk as N Brown announces 20 store closures

N Brown

The parent company of fashion retailers JD Williams, Jacamo and Simple Be has announced it will begin consultations with staff as part of plans to shut down 20 stores.

N Brown Group said the stores are being closed ahead of their lease expiry date, and the decision was done based on poor footfall figures while only generating two per cent of the group’s revenue and an EBITDA loss of £3 million.

According to union group Usdaw, the closure of 20 stores would affect around 240 retail jobs.

The union added that 15 head office jobs and 35 distribution roles at Duke Mill in Shaw will also be impacted by the store closures.

The outcome of N Brown’s staff consultation will be announced in October.

It also expects to incur a one-off cash cost of between £18 million and £22 million if it closes all 20 stores.

The announcement was made amid N Brown’s first quarter report for the 13 weeks ending June 2, where it recorded a 0.4 per cent dip in group revenue and 2.8 per cent drop of product revenue.

However, it said total online revenue was up three per cent, and 75 per cent of the retailer’s overall revenue now derived from online.

The retailer was also sticking to its full-year expectations

“As highlighted in our full year results, this was a challenging period for fashion retail,” N Brown chief executive Angela Spindler said.

“Against this backdrop and a double-digit comparative in product revenue, I am satisfied with our Q1 performance. At this early stage in the financial year our full year expectations are unchanged.

“In line with our online strategy, and given continued weak high street footfall, we have today commenced a consultation process with colleagues over the future of our small store estate.

“This action has not been taken lightly and we will do all we can to support the colleagues affected during this process.

“We continue at pace our journey to become a global online retailer, uniquely delivering fashion that fits. This will underpin our future growth, both in the UK and Internationally.”

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